For B2B manufacturing companies, there’s a strong need to generate a steady stream of qualified leads. This is because manufacturing companies rely on a daily influx of orders to stay productive and provide enough work for employees. In fact, your business model depends on keeping the sales process moving. Even one week with no new leads can have a negative impact on your company’s profits and the lives of the workers you employ.
There are many different ways for manufacturing companies to generate new leads. Of course, the specific methods you use will depend on who your buyers are. Some manufacturers only sell to licensed resellers, while others sell to individual drop shippers. Still other manufacturing companies act as white label drop shippers themselves, with an individual or company acting as the middleman. In each of these scenarios, there may be some variation in how you approach finding leads.
However your company operates, it never hurts to experiment with some new strategies for bringing in new business. In this article, we’re looking at six lead generation ideas for manufacturing companies.
1. Convert website visitors to leads
Just because you’re a manufacturing company, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to capture leads through your website. Manufacturing websites have a tendency to be quite industrial and not very user-friendly, with an overload of information and specifications on each page. Even if this is the case for your site, aim to make it easy for visitors to contact you. This can take the form of a simple button on each page that redirects to a “Contact Us” form. Don’t make it easy for these valued visitors to leave your website without first giving you their email address!
As an added bonus, consider using a web-to-lead form that integrates with your company’s customer relationship management software. Any visitors that provide their contact information through this form will automatically be entered as new leads in your CRM. You’ll also be notified of these new leads via email so you can follow up with them efficiently.
2. Offer free samples to qualified leads
Understandably, you can’t just ship free samples to anybody who comes across your site – you’d go broke! But if your company’s products are fairly small, you could offer free samples—including free shipping—to verified potential buyers. Displaying this offer prominently on your website’s homepage will prompt visitors to submit their information.
To determine who qualifies for a free sample, be sure to include fields on your web-to-lead form that capture the lead’s industry and/or company size. Based on your company’s target buyers, your sales team can then identify the most relevant prospects to ship samples to. And of course, be sure to follow up with these leads to ask how they liked the products. The combination of a freebie plus personalized service might just be the key to converting leads into customers.
3. Create an explanatory video
For many people, the manufacturing process is a big mystery. This may even be true for your target buyers. A company may be looking for products like the ones you make, but they aren’t sure what’s special about your process or the materials your company uses. And without this valuable information, they’ll likely just go with the cheapest manufacturer.
To combat this lack of understanding, it’s a great idea to make a simple video that explains why your company’s products are special. Depending on your video production skills, this could range from a simple “talking head” shot to an animated walkthrough of the manufacturing process. Then, generate interest among potential buyers by publishing the video on your website, social media accounts, or YouTube.
4. Partner with e-commerce merchants
If you’re a manufacturing company that is willing to drop ship white labeled products or sell products wholesale to individual drop shippers, you have another option. E-commerce platforms like Shopify have a huge number of eager drop shippers looking for products to sell. By partnering with these merchants, you can easily put your goods in front of people who want to sell and buy them, with minimal marketing effort on your part.
This is a less conventional “lead generation” tactic that takes advantage of everything modern e-commerce has to offer. The first step is to become an Oberlo supplier, which allows Shopify merchants to add your products to their online stores. While you may need to invest some resources in the initial setup process, the eventual payout for your business could be huge.
5. Attend trade shows
This is a classic lead generation strategy for manufacturers, and for good reason. If you aren’t already attending trade shows, you’re missing out on hundreds or even thousands of potential leads.
Trade shows are still going strong despite the rise of B2B transactions online. After all, these events give your company an opportunity to showcase your products in an interactive, hands-on environment. Send your most enthusiastic salespeople to the show, along with one or two technical experts who can answer questions about production and specifications. Then, be sure they collect business cards from every person they speak to — or better yet, pull up your company’s web-to-lead form on your tablet or phone and enter your new lead on the spot.
6. Run a contest
No one expects a manufacturing company to run a contest, which is exactly why it will attract so much attention. Invite the public to submit ideas for a new product name or color, a new packaging strategy, a new mascot for your company — the possibilities are endless.
At its most basic level, the creativity behind this idea will generate brand awareness for your company. At the same time, asking entrants to provide an email address for prize eligibility will fill your CRM with new leads that can be nurtured after the contest ends. Depending on your business model, you may choose to run the contest within your local community (perhaps at a trade show), or you can take it online to your website and social media accounts.
Whether you produce just one item or a whole slew of SKUs, these six ideas for lead generation are feasible for any size of manufacturing company. But keep in mind that all the leads in the world won’t help your business grow unless you can organize and track them! If you’re ramping up your lead generation strategy, consider using CRM software to help with lead management. No matter how full your sales funnel becomes, you’ll be ready to tackle it head-on.